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Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

88 new safety call boxes installed after years of inoperation

Photo by Cassandra Harris
One of the new 88 safety call boxes found throughout campus in the computer lab on the second floor of Thayer Hall.

After years of inoperation, the police and IT departments have installed 88 new police call boxes for $150 each in various locations around campus that, with the press of a button, calls the police department.


Once pressed, the closest Point Tilt Zoom (PTZ) camera in proximity points at the call box, dispatches an officer and an operator picks up the call in Thayer Hall.


“So if there was an emergency anytime the box has been activated, you know an officer was dispatched,” Police Sergeant Mathew Mays said. “Even when the Metis boxes were down, if you would hit that button an officer would have still been dispatched, we just didn’t have any communication.”


According to Mays, the “real”  reason for getting rid of the previous boxes was because the network could no longer support the technology. In the past, one use of the call boxes was to reach the police when a student had a medical emergency.


“A dancer had a broken ankle, you know, so rather than pick up the phone,” Mays said. “They hit the box so they’re [able to be] with that person who’s clearly in pain.”


A new safety call box lights up in Village Park is installed over an outdated Metis police call box. Students can push the button on it to call public safety when they are feel in danger. (Photo by Cas)


Junior applied computer science major John Szoszorek witnessed one of the boxes being installed and tested. He said that he thinks the police call boxes offer a good layer of protection.


“I would push it if it’s absolutely necessary,” Szoszorek said. “I expect that most people call with their phones nowadays.”


Unlike the old model, the new police call boxes do not have blue lights on them to draw student’s attention. So Mays and Point Park Chief of Police, Jeffery Besong purchased and put up some of the “EMERGENCY CALLBOX” stickers themselves.


The new call boxes were purchased from a company named Fanvil.


“The company who produced the product before, [Metis], was sold to another organization and the support offered did not give me confidence,” Tim Wilson, associate vice president of IT, said.


In the past, the Student Government Association (SGA) had worked with IT and advocated for the replacement of these call boxes. SGA President Marc Palombo is pleased with the recent installation.


“During my time at Point Park, this concern raised by students has finally been addressed,” Palombo said. “I’m delighted to say that Tim Wilson has done an outstanding job with the implementation of the new call boxes.”


After years of the Metis call boxes being covered by pieces of paper explaining their inoperation, Mays explained the delay in procurement of new ones. Call box variety, inability to update software, cost effectiveness, and network compatibility were the main areas of concern the university had to address when acquiring these new boxes.


“I think that it’s unfortunate that it took them so long to do it,” Alyssa Laughner, a second-year psychology doctoral student, said. “I think it should be easy for them to have more accessible options for safety and people.”


Laughner thinks that the call boxes are a necessary accessibility tool.


“Not everybody might have a phone,” Laughner said. “It’s kind of difficult if you’re in a situation to pause the harassment to call 911, whereas you could just hit the button.”


The installation of the boxes was completed late September to early October and although there have been 88 boxes installed to replace the old 88 Metis boxes, Mays said he believes that there are plans to install more.

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